'I still bear the scars': The innocent men targeted by rape claim 'fantasist' Eleanor Williams
Victims of rape claim 'fantasist' Eleanor Williams have revealed how allegations destroyed their lives and led to suicidal thoughts.
Victims of rape claim "fantasist" Eleanor Williams have revealed how the allegations destroyed their lives.
Williams, 22, from Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, told police she had been raped and beaten by a gang of men.
She was 19 when she claimed in a Facebook post in May 2020 that she had been groomed, trafficked and beaten by a gang of Asian men.
Her post was shared more than 100,000 times and brought a wave of attention to her home town.
Williams posted pictures of her battered and bloodied face on Facebook. But prosecutors said she had caused the injuries herself using a hammer.
She was found guilty in January of eight counts of doing acts tending and intended to pervert the course of justice.
Williams will be sentenced this week at Preston Crown Court during a two-day hearing expected to conclude on Tuesday.
On Monday, the court heard that three men had tried to take their own lives as a result of Williams' false rape allegations.
'Two weeks after my arrest I attempted to take my own life'
On the first day of her sentencing hearing, the business owner who was accused of grooming Williams – Mohammed Ramzan – told the court his life had been made “hell on earth” by the allegations.
Mr Ramzan, who was in tears as he spoke from the witness box, said two weeks after he was arrested following Williams’ claims he attempted to take his own life.
He said: “I still bear the scars to this day.”
Mr Ramzan said his property had been damaged and his businesses had been “ruined” after he and his family were targeted “in the most horrendous way”.
He said: “I have had countless death threats made over social media from people all over the world because of what they thought I was involved in.”
'I had my windows smashed, and someone sprayed 'rapist' on my house'
Jordan Trengrove was falsely accused of rape by Williams three times, despite only having met her once for a couple of hours.
His solid alibis were confirmed, charges were dropped, and he was formally acquitted of any wrongdoing. However, he was still targeted by vigilantes who had read reports of the allegations.
In a statement read to the court, he said the word “rapist” had been spray painted across his house and his window was smashed after Williams accused him of raping and attacking her.
He said he spent 73 days in prison, sharing a cell with a convicted sex offender, after he was charged as a result of her claims.
Mr Trengrove said: “The lowest point was when I tried to end my life in August 2020.”
'I had to tell my family what I was being accused of'
Cameron Bibby said he would "never forget" the moment he was told of the accusations. He said: "I was at home with my mum when the police called, [she] had two carers and in front of everyone I was told I was being arrested on suspicion of rape.
"I was terrified. It was like being in a nightmare being accused of something so horrible knowing I'd done nothing wrong. It made me feel ill and disgusted knowing it was lies.
"It was the worst experience of my life."
Mr Bibby said that since the allegations were made in 2017 he has had trouble sleeping and "barely left the house".
He said: "I've had to remove myself from social media because of vile abuse accusing me of being a rapist. The Justice For Ellie stickers on my neighbours houses and cars intimidated me. I've lost most of my friends and some members of my family shared Ellie's post.
"The stress of giving evidence was unbearable. This will stay with me for the rest of my life."
'I started questioning myself even though I knew I'd done nothing wrong'
Oliver Gardner said a chance encounter with Williams in Preston led to him being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Mr Gardner, who was accused of rape after he met Williams in the city centre, said it was a “real shock” when he was contacted by Cumbria Police and told of her claims.
He said: “It was just a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
In his statement, he said he tried to end his life before being sectioned. He said: “This whole period in my life has been totally overwhelming.”
The court heard there were 151 extra crimes following the Facebook post, including 83 hate crimes.